GALLEYCHAT, December 2015,
Eyes 2016

Just in time to feed your reader for the holidays ahead, our GalleyChatter columnist Robin Beerbower rounds up the favorites from this month’s chat.


It’s hard to believe this is the last GalleyChat summary of 2015. It has been a fabulous year of reading and we can’t wait to see what our crystal balls predict for 2016.

For a complete list of what was mentioned during the chat, check here.

Librarian Magnets

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The phrases “re-imagined Bronte” or “inspired by a story by Jane Austen” are librarian magnets and brought particular enthusiasm for three novels during the December’s GalleyChat.

Receiving the most attention was Lyndsay Fay’s Jane Steele (PRH/Putnam, March). Inspired by a Charlotte Bronte classic and described as “practically perfect,” Ann Chambers Theis  (Henrico County Public Library, VA) goes on to say, “Wow. What fun. A delightful mashup, both entertaining and literary. Jane Eyre, Gothicness, Dickensonianish, interesting subplots – not to mention the serial killer aspect.”

Also receiving early attention was The Madwoman Upstairs, Catherine Lowell (S&S/Touchstone, March), a literary mystery about the last living Bronte descendant. It was a hit for New Rochelle (NY) Public LIbrary’s Beth Mills who said, “Cryptic clues from their novels send quirky Samantha on a wild scavenger hunt for the family’s rumored “lost estate” of notebooks and manuscripts. Marvelous Oxford atmosphere and memorable characters.”

Rounding out the list is Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice (Random House, April) by Curtis Sittenfeld, author of the popular novels Prep and American Wife. Andrienne Cruz (Azusa, CA, City Library) reports, “Eligible is a lively and quite up-to-date (think Crossfit and reality TV) retelling of Pride and Prejudice and just like a sweet dose of dessert at the end of the meal, satisfying.”

February Thrillers

9781476785622_ba7aaIt takes a special talent to create a character who is charismatic even though his deeds are heinous (think Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter), one Caroline Kepnes exhibited in her first book, You. It introduced Joe Goldberg, a bookstore worker whose obsession with his girlfriends came to not so great ends. In the sequel, Hidden Bodies (S&S/Atria/Emily Bestler, February), Joe follows his current girlfriend to California where he continues his disturbing ways. Jennifer Winberry (Hunterdon County Library, NJ) says, “Joe is one of the most intriguing characters to come along in a while: intelligent, paranoid, passionate and dangerous all at once.”

9780385348485_2c40fAlready acquired by Dreamworks for a movie and receiving lots of buzz, The Travelers by Chris Pavone (PRH/Crown, March) is a surefire hit. Jackie Greenberg, a selector at Baltimore Public Library says, “Will Rhodes is a travel writer, but perhaps he should be questioning why he is delivering sealed envelopes marked confidential as a part of his job at Travelers magazine. One night, while on an assignment in Argentina, a beautiful woman holds a gun to his head and Will has to make a choice. A globetrotting smart literary thriller.”

Beyond the KonMari Method

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If you’ve tried Marie Kondo’s methods from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up but still find the need for more in-depth help, Fay Wolf’s The New Order: A Decluttering Handbook for Creative Folks (and Everyone Else) (PRH/Ballantine, January) may be the answer. Collection Development librarian P. J. Gardiner (Wake County, NC, Library) says this book is full of practical advice: “From purging to filing (both paper and digital files) to reducing content received (tangible and digital items) to gaining productivity, Wolf has an action plan for you.” Request print galleys by emailing

Also, watch for a revamped The Joy of Less by Francine Jay (Chronicle, May), one of the original pioneers of the simple living movement.  

Unique Perspectives

9781101886694_432faWith comparisons by the publisher to The Martian and World War Z, rave reviews flooding in, and movie rights already purchased, Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel (RH/Del Rey, April) could be the sleeper of the year. Lara T, Collection Development Associate at the Tyler (TX) Public Library, said this quirky science fiction thriller “…opens with the accidental discovery of a giant robotic hand, buried in a chamber deep in the ground, and is told primarily through transcripts of interviews with an unnamed official, journal entries, and reports. The unfolding mystery of the origin, purpose, and power of the ancient artifact, and the political machinations around its study made this book hard to put down.”

9781631490903_c2ef2For unorthodox short stories that will stay with you, Andrienne Cruz recommends Amber Sparks’ Unfinished World (Norton/Liveright, January). “The stories here are macabre, magical and melancholic. There is something here for everyone: time travel, kings and queens, werewolves, scam artists, mafia…”

Please join us for our first 2016 GalleyChat on January 5 at 4:00 (ET) with virtual happy hour at 3:30. To keep up with my anticipated 2016 titles, “friend” me on Edelweiss.

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